Between 23 -27 October 2013 Agapé UK hosted The London Lab in partnership with Agape Europe. Designed as a learning experience and outreach for leaders in Europe, this group began to address the question, “How do you make an impact for the Kingdom of God in a city like London?”
The London Lab brought together various Agapé strategies and connected with other organisations and churches to examine how to reach a City with the gospel message. By approaching London as learners, creating a “laboratory” environment, a dynamic process has started that has the potential shape Christian movements in key cities in years to come.
“We believe that the transformation of the UK will happen through the transformation of our cities. Working with the whole body of Christ, we will therefore establish Beacon Cities where transformational spiritual movements of multiplying disciples are having an impact in all the sectors of society targeted by Agapé in the city, providing models for others to learn from and apply appropriately.”
- Lesley Cheesman, UK National Director
Several themes guided the time and the first of these was… LEARNING
The London Lab was designed for European Agape staff to cross-pollinate ministry strategy in the context of reaching their respective cities. Nearly 70 staff from all across Europe (including three from the Eastern Europe Area) attended the conference, as well as guests from the US and East Asia. The sessions included classroom learning from marketplace leaders who are ministering in London with the desire to transform both individuals and the society around them. These sessions were coupled with group discussions to identify challenges to successful urban ministry. The learning process also included field visits to various ministries in London. Every activity was designed for active learning where the participants could hear from God, from one another and from others.
Another obvious theme was an emphasis on… THE CITY
Cities are the centres of culture and influence. Because we desire to be strategic, Agape has set “the city” as its primary target. In the UK, leaders are convinced that national Transformation will happen through the transformation of cities. To reach this goal, many are re-organising activities around the concept of ‘Beacon cities’, or the idea that cities should become trend-setting locations in the area of Christian spirituality. A specially designed bus tour of London highlighting the spiritual heritage of the City illustrated this concept clearly, reminding participants that citieis have had a leadership role for centuries.
Singapore, East Asia
Washington, DC, USA
An important theme throughout the week was the need for…INTEGRATION
Because cities are not monocultural, but diverse and complex; a multi-faceted, integrated approach is needed when approaching the Task of helping People become well-rounded followers of Christ. Many Agapé outreach strategies effectively reach segments of the City, but in order to share the message of faith to an entire city, it is necessary to embrace and model the diversity in a city. Exciting partnerships between FamilyLife, Christian Embassy, Athletes in Action and local churches as well as the participation of First Acts and London Iranian congregations were modeled or developed during the week of London Lab.
Ministry Events during London Lab included:
A final and critical theme was the value of…PARTNERSHIP
No place shows the need for partnership better than a city. No one organisation or church can reach a city on its own. It requires the Body of Christ coming together. Reaching London, or any of our globally influential cities in Europe, will require an ongoing effort involving like-minded collaborators in gospel ministry. This Approach was modelled during the London Lab. Leaders adopted a learners' attitude, looking for opportunities to join with and learn from others involved in urban ministry. To this end, several influential leaders involved in outreach in London took time to interact with participants.
“Europe is going to be the centre of God’s mission activity for the next 50 years!”
Ministering in the great cities of Europe is a critical part of this mission activity and the London Lab has moved participants closer to understanding what must be done to reach these cities that are so close to the heart of God.
God works powerfully in missions through disability and not in spite of it.
What is your superpower?
Empathy is about giving the gift of true, engaged listening.
During this time of global pandemic, if there is a word worthy to underline – and which brings to light thousands of people’s selfless commitment to risk their lives and serve unconditionally with their time and resources – it is the word generosity.
Praise God for that.